Every HR manager/office manager dreads this scenario: someone shows up in your office and says, “Hi, I’m John Doe and I was told to report to you for my first day.” So you quickly scramble to figure out if John Doe really is a new employee, who hired him, what his job is, how much he’s to be paid, etc. As hard as it is to believe, negative onboarding situations like these happen all the time.
But if you’re not making the most of your onboarding process, you’re missing out on a crucial opportunity to build long-term positive relationships that bolster employee engagement and retention.
They say you never get second chance to make a first impression. That’s definitely true in the business world, especially when new employees are first being introduced to a company’s culture and fundamental operations. If your onboarding process is chaotic, outdated—or worse yet, missing—new hires will likely assume the company isn’t well-managed. They may even begin to doubt their decision to take the job. So if you want your new employees to be excited about your organization and stick around for the long haul, effective onboarding should be a priority. Here are some inspirational onboarding best practices you might want to consider:
Start right away. The onboarding process doesn’t have to wait until your new employee is physically on the premises. Today’s technologies make it possible to connect and engage with new hires from the moment they accept your offer. Most prospective employees are anxious to learn about their new organization, its culture, and the team members they’ll be working with. To make sure new hires hit the ground running, keep them informed before they even start. Let them know what’s on the schedule for day one and what they can expect during their first week. Send along any paperwork that needs to be completed so they’re prepared from the get-go.
Roll out the welcome mat. Ease the stress that comes with the first day on a new job by taking extra welcoming measures. Greet him or her at the door and make introductions to other staff members. Make sure a work space is set up and equipped with all the basic supplies. Invite him or her for lunch or coffee. Small gestures like these can go a long way to making new employees feel welcomed and comfortable in a new working environment.
Create a new hire welcome kit. The first week on the job can be chaotic for the employee and for you. To ensure that you cover everything, compile an exhaustive checklist of topics and determine who is responsible for what. Next, create a comprehensive employee welcome kit. By having general company onboarding documents stored in one place online, you can make sure nothing slips between the cracks during orientation. Your welcome kit might include things like the new employee’s job description, your company handbook, history, videos, frequently asked questions, company jargon definitions, and any necessary documents and procedures he or she might need.
Pair new hires with an onboarding buddy. A great way to make sure new employees are comfortable is to pair them up with a peer for their first days on the job. When existing employees show new hires the ropes, they’ll likely feel more comfortable and may bring up questions they’d otherwise hesitate to ask. Be sure to clearly define the buddy’s role and that he or she receives training in advance. The last thing you need is a buddy passing along bad habits to a new hire.
Take it easy. Keep in mind that new hires take in massive amounts of information at the onset, so don’t require long days. Be sensitive to the fact that they need time to absorb and reflect on all of the information that’s coming at them. Create check-ins at regular intervals to ensure that your new employee is assimilating properly. This approach will pay off in the long run, because your workers will better retain what they learned during their orientation and training.
Create a process for internal transfers and promotions. Just because an employee has been working for an organization doesn’t mean he or she doesn’t need a little onboarding when they take on a new position or move to a new department. Consider what’s currently in your organization’s orientation program and create a streamlined version for promotions and transfers.
Make onboarding fun! Think of onboarding as an opportunity to be creative rather than as a dreaded chore. Keep in mind that your new hires are probably going to be overwhelmed, so build in plenty of break time and make your training documents easy to read. At the end of their first week, congratulate new hires with a team lunch or some cool company swag.
Never stop improving your onboarding process. Your onboarding plan can—and should—continue to grow and evolve. Don’t miss the opportunity to ask employees what they thought of the onboarding process and what recommendations they have for improvement. This information can be valuable not only right after their employee orientation, but also after they’ve been on the job awhile and have had time to really consider the value of the training they received. Keep enhancing your onboarding process so that you can continue empowering your employees and equipping them with the tools they need for success.
Effective onboarding has a big return on investment, not just through the costs associated with decreased turnover, but also by positively impacting employee productivity, satisfaction and engagement. The steps you take to go above and beyond in the onboarding process will be well worth your time and effort. Is your organization ready to implement a more effective employee onboarding process? The HR Team is here to help. Please contact our knowledgeable professionals to learn more.
About The HR Team: Founded in 1996, The HR Team is a Maryland-based human resources outsourcing firm committed to developing strategic, customized solutions that respond to the unique needs and cultures of organizations of all types and sizes. Available as a one-source alternative to an in-house HR department or on an à la carte project basis, the company’s flexible service models address the full spectrum of HR needs that many organizations struggle to address. The HR Team helps clients achieve their highest level of success by providing value-driven human resources services that leave them time to focus on what they do best: directing business growth and profitability. Headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, the firm serves all of Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia. To learn more about The HR Team, call 410.381.9700 or visit https://www.thehrteam.com/.